Exclusive: Pandafan Hum A Bittersweet Lullaby on New Single "November"

Exclusive: Pandafan Hum A Bittersweet Lullaby on New Single "November"

We all grow as the years go by. We learn, we experience, and we evolve. The members of Pandafan know this well -- they've been evolving since they formed their indie-folk outfit back in 2012. The lineup may have changed over the years, wracked by the passing of time and its inevitable obstacles, but their music remains the center force that drives them. A blend of emotive multi-instrumentation and honest songwriting, Pandafan's music seems to float.

Formed in Long Island but based around the NY metro area, the band is comprised of a whole slew of wildly talented artists: Delaney Hafener (electric, acoustic, and keys) and Grace Denatale (violin and acoustic) share lush vocal harmonies, accompanied by accomplished jazz singer Taylor Burgess (on keys too). Those looming thumps of percussion are courtesy of Yas Baratali with Emma Steen pumping out bass lines. Together, they craft melodies built on pure emotion.

Tomorrow, the band is set to release their newest single, "November," but we've got the exclusive advance premiere right here. Knowing that this track was bound to have been born out of the hardship and heart that runs through Pandafan's discography, we asked Delaney to tell us a little about it.

Fall semester of my junior year at SUNY Purchase was really tough for me — I think I was pretty depressed. I didn’t really have the words or tools to deal with it at that point, because I’d been lucky to have never dealt with that sort of thing before, so this song is basically about those feelings.

I felt very much alone despite the fact that I lived on campus, next door to a lot of friends. My partner was on a long road trip, so it was my first experience with a long-distance relationship, and my best friend and roommate spent more of her time off-campus with her partner.

Songwriting has always been my outlet, and this song was a deeply personal one... personal in a way that I hadn’t really attempted before. When I wrote it, I wrote it all at once and didn’t really do any editing, so it’s almost like a diary entry.

The recording was all done at our home studio on Long Island, The Silo Studio. It’s mostly self-produced (by me) with mixing and mastering help from my dad Bill Hafener, who’s also a musician. (And it’s our first release with the new full line-up, which is really exciting!)

"November," heavy with feeling, opens on a gorgeous instrumental loop. Resounding bass strums and swollen warbles of blooming folk tones morph seamlessly into a tender guitar rhythm, nearly a minute before the vocals come in. But then there they are: weighted and honest, just a straight hum confessing a moment of deep hurt, the kind that feels like entrapment, the kind that doesn't have a name or a reason but haunts us anyway. Quiet harmony backs the lead vocals, wisps of airy echo.

All the while, the arrangement surges on, careful not to get in the way of the vocals. There's a stunning wail of strings, cavernous gushes of percussion, and steady acoustic strums, each element coming together thoughtfully and cohesively to build a pulsing folk base for the lyrics to stand on: "But I don't know what I want anymore." There's a heartbreaking honesty on "November," sweetened by those soft instrumental layers but laden with an ache made apparent in the eerie harmonies. On their first release with their official line-up, Pandafan devise an earnest and dreamy soundscape.

Listen to "November" below -- keep your ears on the music but your eyes on the exquisitely animated music video designed by Emma Baynes. She captures the desperate duality of "November" with warring imagery and mimics the track's despondent tone with dark colorblocking techniques and mesmeric visuals -- and connect with Pandafan on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. "November" drops tomorrow on all streaming platforms. 

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